Write from the stillness beyond words

As a writer you feel called to tell a story and create worlds that entrance and captivate your readers. But have you ever wondered where stories come from?

For me, one possible answer is given by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, who says that great art comes from the space of inner stillness beyond thought.

Eckhart Tolle quote: Artists create from the place of no-mind and inner stillness

This can be a strange idea, given that we are so used to trying to think our way through problems and may even be trying to think up story ideas. But thinking, as it turns out, has a rather narrow range of usefulness when it comes to creativity. Notice what happens when you are struggling to make headway with a story – your mind kicks into overdrive and you try to think your way to the next scene or the next piece of dialogue with growing frustration. Now contrast that with the moments when you are inspired and in the creativity zone. The ideas come effortlessly and just seem to pop into your awareness. If you’ve experienced this just once in your life, you’ll have proven to yourself that great ideas do, indeed, come from the space beyond thought.

Which leads us to the next question – how do you access that realm of deeper intelligence?

Entering the subconscious mind

You can access this deeper intelligence through the gateway of the body and emotions. When you let go of thinking and focus on the sensations of the body and on your emotional tone and feeling states, you will automatically find yourself drifting more into your subconscious and closer to the place of stillness beyond thought. If the thinking-mind is about doing, the subconscious mind is about being. So as you engage the imagination to evoke states of feeling, sensing and being, you become the character and experience the story world unfolding under its own intelligence. Your inner mind has a life and an intelligence all of its own and has vast capacity for drawing connections between things and solving problems which the more linear conscious mind just can’t get to.

Formula for artistic trance

Let’s say you want to explore a scene, dialogue or character. Try this quick process:

  1. Drop all effort to think about what you want to write.
  2. Use your imagination to reach for the feeling state of the scene or character. Is it happy, melancholic, bright, tragic, bold, wondrous, grim? Add sensory details of texture, temperature, colour and imagery.
  3. Feel it so vividly that you become the character or an observer in the scene. Step into your own story world and let it start speaking back to you and play out under its own direction.
  4. Write down any words, images or snatches of conversation that appear. Freewrite to explore further.

Get into character

The whole secret of this approach is to let go of your ordinary identity as the writer and to become a character or observer in your setting. As you do this, you also drift naturally into a hyper-focused waking trance state where you are a clear channel for the wild creativity of your inner mind. This deeper intelligence already knows how the story should unfold, and all you have to do is step back and take notes. With practice, you can access this state of tapped-in creativity in just a few seconds.

Try this now and see what happens.

Write from your subconscious mind

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